The old thread like this I created is still on the board. But I've done a lot of research and thought a lot about this the past week or two. I have a new plan, and sometimes these things are sort of lost in the 9th page of a thread. First of all, PERSONNEL. I've been getting really into the advanced analytics side of things recently. There appear to be three prominent sets of data. Basketball Reference's WS (total) and WS/48 (efficiency), John Hollinger's EWA (total) and PER (efficiency), and - the new one - Ilardi's WAR (total) and RPM (efficiency). It's hard to pick one, as all three seem to be theoretically sound, and return very different results.. So, I combined them. I took the top 50 overall players in each of the six categories, I found their rankings in all (six) of the categories, and I averaged them out into a FINAL blueadams ranking. The '04 Pistons might've not had a superstar, but they did have 4-6 of the top 50 players in the league, and I think that's still the model here.. hence my choice to find the top-50. *I'll be happy to share this data with the board as soon as I'm able to make it presentable enough. Based on this data, I have a new plan.. #1) Drummond rated as the 40th best player in the league. Monroe rated as the 50th best player in the league. That's 2/5. I prefer to keep -- and build on -- what's here, rather than to move half of it. In truth, I still think the Drummond-Monroe combination works (but not with Smith). It makes us the best rebounding, post-defending and post-scoring team on the court most nights, and that's a hell of a great thing to be. Monroe might never be the Tim Duncan-mid-range machine that we want him to be, but as he and Drummond's offensive games develop, and chemistry between the two (without Smith) is developed, I think it'll make for a fine front-court. Monroe might always struggle against stretch 4's too, but many of them are going to struggle with him too, and I LOVE Tony Mitchell's potential. He and Drummond's athleticism together in the front-court makes me drool. I think he could be an excellent anti-stretch-4 off the bench sooner than later, and I want to see him getting a lot more PT next season. #2) Some salaries need to be moved in order for my plan to work. Either "Smith" or "Jennings, Jerebko and Datome or Bynum". ---Is there an at all realistic chance that Jerebko could be talked into not picking up his player option? I don't hate Jerebko. But his 4.5M salary is way too much. He hasn't (and I think "isn't going to") turned into what I'd hoped he could. He's been here too long, and his on and off-court attitude isn't what it used to be. Plus, I prefer Mitchell at his spot off the bench, and I'd really like to see him get minutes. I guess he wouldn't be impossible to move if he picks up the option. He's a talented stretch-4 offensively. He's solid defensively. He's relatively young. His attitude isn't a "problem". There are teams out there that could take on $4.5M. ---Is there an at all realistic chance that Datome could be talked into going back to Europe? He seemed to be 'the man' in whatever league he was in out there, and I'm sure he enjoyed it. Look. No one's seen enough of Datome to know what he is. But based on what I have seen (poor shooting, defense and about everything else in a small sample size), I'm comfortable moving on. I plan to move Smith and to bring in a new starting 2 and 3, I like Singler and KCP off the bench at the wing, $1.9M is a significant salary, and Datome's just going to rot on my bench. I guess he wouldn't be impossible to include as a throw-away in a bigger deal. ---I like Bynum. For a time there, he was "my guy". But I plan to move Jennings, to bring in a new starting 1, I LOVE Siva as my third point guard, and I'd like to have a (sorry WB) better backup. He shouldn't be impossible to move. Some talent. Not an attitude problem. Not a big salary. ---I hate Jennings, and under no circumstances do I want him to have anything to do with this team. Personal feelings aside, strictly speaking statistically, he is just a terrible player. He's still a name. He's 24. He scores 16ppg. Perhaps there's a struggling franchise lacking a point guard out there that needs to excite their fan base and sell some tickets this summer? That's our best hope. If I couldn't move him, I'd put him on waivers and tell him to stay home (seriously) until something got worked out. ---I hate Smith, too, and under no circumstances do I want him to have anything to do with this team. Again, personal feelings aside, strictly speaking statistically, he is just a terrible player. Beyond that, he is just an especially terrible player here, at the 3. He IS a great talent, though. His WAR did rank 38th in the league (which we'll need to sell). He is a name. He is exciting. He does sell tickets. His salary isn't absurd. He could be a great, great 4 under the right circumstances, elsewhere. It'd be a tough sell, but not impossible. #3) Goran Dragic (27) is the most underrated player in the league. By my calculations, he's actually the 9th best player in the league. The Suns were shopping him all season -- in part because he plans to leave as a FA next season (idk what's going on there), in part because they want to make Eric Bledsoe the face of their franchise, and they don't like the Bledsoe-Dragic back-court combination (for some reason?--it works). He's an undersized 2-guard, for sure, but he's obviously been more than holding his own at that position statistically (really, I can't emphasize this question enough--how many big, super athletic, great scoring 2-guards are there in the league today?). Should we ever encounter someone who gives him problems, he can run the point and I like KCP as a defensive match-up off the bench (it also helps to have a big front-court, Drummond and Monroe, behind him). How do we get him? I like the talent at 7/8 in the '14 draft, but not as much as I like Dragic, and I have an idea that might not be terrible. There IS going to be an exciting, big-name, young prospect available there. I'm sure the Suns would love to turn Dragic into someone like that, who -- in their opinion -- is a better fit alongside Bledsoe (they're also going to have two mid-1st-rd. picks...so they could actually build something exciting out there). Think they'd take our 1st rd. pick AND Josh Smith in exchange for Dragic? It works on the trade machine with a minimal contract addition on the part of the Suns. Bledsoe's a super athletic point guard that likes to get out and run. Smith, alongside Morris, is actually a pretty ideal situation for them in the front-court. Just an idea, but it could work. If not, I think the pick on its own would be enough to make it happen. #4) Kyle Lowry (27) is the second most underrated player in the league. By my calculations, he's actually the 11th best player in the league. He's also an UFA. He's also projected -- by ESPN Insider's Free Agent guy -- to sign a contract in the annual 5.7M range. I'd happily pay twice that. This is a no-brainer move, IMO. #5) Trevor Ariza (28) is probably our next best free agent option. There's not going to be enough left to make a significant move after we part with that pick. I've evaluated the market, and Ariza is our next best option. By my calculations, he's the 58th best player in the league, and that's the best we're going to do. If Lowry's projected to make 5.7M, then I'm guessing Ariza (who isn't even on ESPN's top-30 FA list) is expected to make less. #6) Chris Anderson (35), PO, from Miami, is also really, really underrated. By my calculations, he's actually the 33rd best player in the league, and he doesn't rate in ESPN's top-30 FA's either. He looks like a moron, but he does bring a little edge, and I think he'd make for an excellent backup big off the bench. Defends, rebounds, scores efficiently. #7) Patty Mills (25), UFA, from San Antonio, is also really, really underrated. By my calculations, he's actually the 38th best player in the league, and he doesn't rate in ESPN's top-30 FA's either. Nor does Isaiah Thomas (24, RFA), who ranks 24th in the league by my calculations. But I prefer Mills because he'll be cheaper not being restricted, and also because he's a better combo with Lowry--as he's an EXCELLENT 3-pt shooter. I also just love the idea of bringing in a Popovich-Parker-groomed backup point. So, your 2014-15 Pistons: C: A. Drummond, C. Anderson, J. Harrellson PF: G. Monroe, T. Mitchell SF: T. Ariza, K. Singler SG: G. Dragic, K. C-Pope PG: K. Lowry, P. Mills, P. Siva Reserves(?/traded/at home): Jennings, Jerebko, Bynum, Datome I love that team and IMO, it's a legit NBA title contender (depending on what happens with LeBron..).